It was a very long song, so the rest of it is left out here, but there was a great deal of rolling and roaring in it, and they all joined in the chorus. They were all singing away at the top of their pipe, as Bill called it, when round a bend in the road they came on two low-looking persons hiding behind a tree. One was a Possum, with one of those sharp, snooting, snouting sort of faces, and the other was a bulbous, boozy-looking Wombat in an old long-tailed coat, and a hat that marked him down as a man you couldn’t trust in the fowl-yard. They were busy sharpening up a carving knife on a portable grindstone, but the moment they caught sight of the travellers the Possum whipped the knife behind him and the Wombat put his hat over the grindstone.
Bill Barnacle flew into a passion at these signs of treachery. “I see you there,” he shouted.
“You can’t see all of us,” shouted the Possum, and the Wombat added, “Cause why, some of us is behind the tree.”
Bill led the others aside, in order to hold a consultation. “What on earth’s to be done?” he said.
“We shall have to fight them, as usual,” said Sam.
“Why do you have to fight them?” asked Bunyip Bluegum.
“Because they’re after our Puddin’,” said Bill.
“They’re after our Puddin’,” explained Sam, “because they’re professional puddin’-thieves.”
“And as we’re perfessional puddin’-owners,” said Bill, “we have to fight them on principle. The fighting,” he added, “is a mere flea-bite, as the sayin’ goes. The trouble is, what’s to be done with the Puddin’?”
“While you do the fighting,” said Bunyip bravely, “I shall mind the Puddin’.”
“The trouble is,” said Bill, “that this is a very secret, crafty Puddin’, an’ if you wasn’t up to his games he’d be askin’ you to look at a spider an’ then run away while your back is turned.”
“That’s right,” said the Puddin’, gloomily. “Take a Puddin’s character away. Don’t mind his feelings.”
“We don’t mind your feelin’s, Albert,” said Bill. “What we minds is your treacherous ’abits.” But Bunyip Bluegum said, “Why not turn him upside-down and sit on him?”
“What a brutal suggestion,” said the Puddin’; but no notice was taken of his objections, and as soon as he was turned safely upside down, Bill and Sam ran straight at the puddin’-thieves and commenced sparring up at them with the greatest activity.
“Put ’em up, ye puddin’-snatchers,” shouted Bill. “Don’t keep us sparrin’ up here all day. Come out an’ take your gruel while you’ve got the chance.”
The Possum wished to turn the matter off by saying, “I see the price of eggs has gone up again,” but Bill gave him a punch on the snout that bent it like a carrot, and Sam caught the Wombat such a flip with his flapper that he gave in at once.
“I shan’t be able to fight any more this afternoon,” said the Wombat, “as I’ve got sore feet.” The Possum said hurriedly, “We shall be late for that appointment,” and they took their grindstone and off they went.